UI News: Bpt Files for Party Status in CT Siting Council Proceedings

FAIRFIELD, CT — In a major development in the battle to stop United Illuminating’s (UI) plan to construct 100+ giant monopoles reaching heights of up to 195 feet throughout the local area, the City of Bridgeport has filed for party status in the proceedings of the Connecticut Siting Council that will rule on UI’s application.

If approved, the City’s application (here) would give it standing to address the Siting Council concerning what it calls, “an unreasonable impact to its municipal interests and to the natural resources of the State including coastal and water resources.” As a recognized party, Bridgeport would be able to conduct cross examination of witnesses and submit briefs and pleadings. Bridgeport also wishes to participate “to ensure evidence of alternative location(s), configurations and/or technology are appropriately considered by the Council.”

In its application to intervene, the City writes that, “Bridgeport’s participation will be in the interests of justice because the Project will be built across the City of Bridgeport and has the potential to impact Bridgeport’s downtown area as well as its coastal resources.”

Pointing to the environmental and economic threats posed to its coastal resources and downtown area, the City writes that “Bridgeport is concerned with the potential location of transmission equipment, including transmission lines and utility poles, and any impact to these economic and coastal resources…the proposed Project is likely to unreasonably harm the public trust in the air, water or other natural resources of the State of Connecticut.”

Andrea Ozyck, co-founder of the Sasco Creek Neighbors Environmental Trust, Inc. called the City’s filing an enormous development in the grassroots effort to convince United Illuminating to pursue alternative solutions that better meet the needs of our community. 

"This application underscores the widespread harm that UI’s plan would do to our entire area – not only to Southport and Fairfield, but to our neighbors in Bridgeport as well,” Ozyck said. “The City has raised important environmental and economic concerns that are shared across our region. We wholeheartedly agree with the City that UI’s proposal demands a more thorough and comprehensive review.” 

The implications of United Illuminating's proposal are profound, stretching across nearly 7.5 miles of coastal Connecticut. The UI project aims to replace inconspicuous electricity infrastructure with towering poles and transmission lines, necessitating the clearance of a 20 to 40-foot corridor of trees along its route. Additionally, the project will bisect and disrupt several historic districts, impacting hundreds of properties listed on the National Register. 

The tract targeted by UI commences in the harborside neighborhood of Southport, CT a village of Fairfield and ends near the Barnum Museum, a recently designated National Historic Landmark, in Bridgeport. Along this path, a wave of disruption will leave an indelible imprint on throughout the area, including the Freeman Houses in Bridgeport, the oldest Connecticut homes built by African Americans.

Massive monopoles and disconcerting high voltage lines ranging in height from 95 -145 feet in Southport and Fairfield, reaching upwards of 200 feet in Bridgeport, will tower above treetops and steeples. Approximately 6 acres of trees face permanent clearcutting, while property rights will be forever relinquished by multiple businesses, churches, and well-preserved residences, as well as a public association library. Some properties may be at risk of complete seizure and/or demolition.

About SCNETI and Empowering Fairfield

Empowering Fairfield is a grassroots organization spearheaded by the Sasco Creek Neighbors Environmental Trust Inc. (SCNETI), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The organization’s mission is to preserve and protect the Fairfield/Southport community by opposing the current United Illuminating transmission line rebuild proposal and advocating for alternative solutions that better meet the needs of our community.

For more information visit www.EmpoweringFairfield.org.

Submitted by Fairfield, CT

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